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My overly dramatic friend is really hard to deal with

Our agony aunt, Mary Fenwick, offers a new perspective on whatever is troubling you

by Psychologies

Q. I have a group of friends, and we enjoy a night out, but one of the girls always gets really drunk, so we have to look after her. She is also very emotional and dramatic. If anyone mentions it to her, she just gets upset. How can I deal with her overbearing personality? Name supplied

A. Do you recognise your friend in this description: she likes drama; if she can swing it she’s the star, and everyone around her is the supporting cast; whatever deal you make, she’s going to break it? Those are some of the ways that author, Julia Cameron, describes what she calls crazy-makers. Crazy-makers are charming, but always at the centre of a storm, and it’s never their fault.

A few things you could try – next time you’re out with this friend, make the decision to stand back slightly, and not get involved. See what you notice. I’m not suggesting you do anything dramatic yourself, but just gently pull away and observe. What is going on in the moments which seem like great fun? What happens if this friend does not get attention from you? What do you observe about people who are in or out of favour with her?

You don’t need to ask anyone’s permission to make this shift within your mind, but it will change the dynamic. The point of friends is that you like them, and you get to choose them. You’re allowed to not have people in your life who ask too much of you.

Mary Fenwick is a business coach, journalist, fundraiser, mother, divorcée and widow. Follow Mary on Twitter @MJFenwick. Got a question for Mary? Email mary@psychologies.co.uk, with ‘MARY’ in the subject line.

Photograph: iStock